I consider myself a Christian, but above all I believe that Love is the most important thing in the world. But what actually is love? I have been struggling with that question just as everyone throughout all eternity has wrestled with trying to understand this vast, complex feeling. I do not think it is possible to fully understand what love is, but here are a few of my reflections and breakthroughs that have settled me at least for a while.
I will not talk about romantic love here, though one could interpret these imaginings in that way. My intended “love” is the all-encompassing phenomenon that runs through all things, living and not, that all religions believe in, that every person has felt deep in themselves that defines them as an individual but also as a connected member of the universe.
I used to think that the meaning of life should be personal happiness. But I was equating love to happiness. Love is much more complex and painful than happiness.
Happiness is fleeting but sorrow lingers.
To feel great happiness one must accept great pain.
Pain hurts worse than how good happiness feels. But Love is above all.
Love is NOT happiness. If anything, Love is pain and sorrow. Without love we may not experience pain and sorrow because Love is the driving force behind all emotions, all conflicts, all actions.
Love is strong. Love endures all. Love is endless. Love is everlasting and abundant. Love grows and is never depleted. But What is Love? Those who feel it recognize it. But no one has ever truly understood what Love is.
Love is universal, but where one finds it is different for each person.
Personally, I find love inside myself when I’m in nature. When I am in a lush forest or in the mist of mountain peaks, or when I see a bird or a leaf, I am filled with a feeling so strong it is like nothing I feel at any other time. I am filled with a love for nature, for the Earth, which extends to a love of the universe, of God, and of Life.
I had been struggling with the question What is Love? But no one has or ever will find an answer that fully explains what Love is because it is beyond understanding and likely the most complex thing in all of eternity. The question I was trying to ask myself was: where do I personally find/experience/feel love? Because once you answer that question for yourself, your life has meaning and purpose.
For me, I feel love for nature. I cannot share that love with others unless they personally feel the same, because you cannot force someone to truly love. But my love empowers me to action–to protect and care for the environment and the natural places that I feel that intimate bond with. My actions, done with energy and passion from the love that fuels me, may inspire others to act in response or, at least, support me. But it is always my intention to act to protect what I love, no matter the cost, pain, or sorrow because that is how love works. It is never my intention to empower others or change other people, though that may be where someone else’s love lies. That is not my calling, that is not where my love thrives, but it does not mean that my actions and love will not impact other people. It may result that my actions done in love will inspire others to find their love.
The meaning of life is Love, but not in the sense that it will bring personal happiness to the one who discovers it. The paradox is that the person who finds their love and acts on it will likely experience much pain and sorrow along with the occasional happiness. But the energy and meaning of following your Love, is worth all of the struggles that will come with it. Such a life does not make sense to one who has not found their Love, the thing that makes their heart want to beat with a will to live and act no matter the cost. And we must also acknowledge that while Love is universal, the source of Love can change. Even within an individual the thing that you think drives you may change during your life, because Love is a driving force, it is not a specific entity. The question that is most important is not to understand Love, but to find where you can personally tap into this living force and be filled. Love is what life is all about, and those who do not feel it will never be fully satisfied with anything.